Why Amp at all?
Google is constantly putting itself under pressure: Without serious competition in the search engine market, Google has to innovate without competitors – because at the same time, social networks like Facebook prefer to keep their users with them. The more user-friendly the use of Google and the better the results, the more Google will continue to be used for research.
In addition to the recommendations (links) from other websites, Google was particularly important about the content – and the technical quality of a website. This could be measured particularly easily, e.B. by their speed at the time of delivery. To this end, Google introduced the PageSpeed score in 2009 and has been continuously developing it ever since. For webmasters, this is a great way to improve the user experience, because the faster the website is delivered, the more satisfied the visitor will be.
Google Amp was launched 6 years later, i.e. 2015 Googledid not seem to be moving fast enough with the PageSpeed optimization of the websites – in contrast to our PageSpeed 100 WordPress Theme many websites are still poorly optimized in terms of performance and often cannot reach top values through quick optimization even afterwards. For many website operators, however, a technical relaunch is out of the question for budget reasons. Google Amp should offer a compromise: a mobile & performance-optimized variant of an otherwise poorly optimizing website.
The idea: Less is more
In the past, the original technology standard was rarely the problem, but the (often misappropriated) use by the website operators. Amp pages therefore offer much less possibilities for the website operator and the visitor, in case of doubt, a wooden hammer method for the fastest possible delivery. Basically a Web Light.
The restrictive standard also allows Google to easily cache the individual pages and deliver them at an accelerated rate – so that they are delivered even faster. Google was therefore relatively sure that an amp page would deliver quickly and made the use of Amp a prerequisite to appear in the top stories of Google News.
Hairs or die
So any news site that didn’t want to give up the traffic of Google News had to support Amp. The Amp versions were available as an alternative version at their own address and had to be technically maintained as a separate output of the page. So instead of motivating the webmasters to structurally speed up their lame websites, a light variant was declared mandatory, which in some cases could be as complex as a technical relaunch of the actual website.
It often happens that a mobile user lands on the amp variant of a website and, for example.B. shares this link with friends or colleagues who then open the mobile amp version on their desktop PC – user-friendly is different. The whole thing is reminiscent of websites that deliver a desktop version instead of a responsive optimization for each resolution – Web 1.0.
Even if the website operator now has a website with PageSpeed 100, fully responsive for any resolution – Google News is denied it until Google Amp is additionally supported. As if a housebuilder were required to provide a roof for sun, rain and snow, depending on the weather conditions, instead of accepting one made of a material that can withstand all conditions. You would have liked Google to accept websites with a PageSpeed 80+ or 90+ for the Google News Top Stories.
Amp vs Core Web Vitals
Google has now greatly improved its ability to evaluate and optimize websites – the user experience is measured beyond the page load-only time, for example whether there are layout shifts during loading or how the felt loading times for a user (visible content is loaded first) or whether the real loading times are particularly high (simulation of a page retrieval instead of using a plain text browser).
The Core Web Vitals summarize several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that allow you to check website quality and improve it based on concrete best practices. So instead of dictating certain restrictive self-standards to users, Google only sets the target – usually without prescribing a specific technology.
Beautiful, individual and fast websites are rewarded with this and investments pay off more – in the end, the user, who has thus rather received the best answer to his search query from Google , wins – regardless of the specific technology used in the website. For the user, it simply does not matter whether a website is delivered particularly quickly via the Google CDN or another CDN – mainly fast.
As of May 2021, the haunting with Google Amp is over: websites with poor basic structure will continue to use Amp to be listed in the Google News Top Stories – websites with PageSpeed-optimized structure will hardly be able to justify expenses for Amp – time is better invested in further optimizing the main structure of the website than in an additional amp version.
About the author
Matthias Bathke is Managing Director of straightvisions GmbH. As a GDPR expert and PageSpeed evangelist, he is keen to develop stable and efficient solutions for our customers.
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